Sunday, April 28, 2013

Be Kind to Animals Week, 2013

I just received a letter from the American Humane Association (AHA), one of the oldest animal protection organizations in the United States (and one that I am particularly fond of because it recognizes the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence).

The letter tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named Hannah’s visit to her local animal shelter and her immediate awareness that the cats there seemed to be miserable housed right next to barking dogs. Hannah took it upon herself to speak up and ask for something to be done, and the next thing you know the shelter was receiving a much-needed makeover. The cats and other animals are now much happier, more people come to the shelter and the adoption rates are up.

Hannah’s story reminded me of the power one person can make in our big wide world. One girl, one woman, one boy, one man – anyone! The purpose of the letter was to remind me of “Be Kind to Animals Week,” which is coming up May 5 through May 12 this year, and has been observed since 1915.

What comes to mind for you when you think of being kind to animals? It might be easy to blow it off – to say to yourself, “I’m always kind to animals – this reminder is for someone else.” I beg to challenge that today: ask yourself and honestly answer these three questions:

Do I report animal neglect or cruelty when I see it?
Do I think about the animals raised for the food I eat?
Do I think I have a responsibility to the animals in our society? Why/why not?

I believe we all have a responsibility to participate in a more humane nation, and that every single day we can thoughtfully consider the choices we make and ask ourselves if we’re doing our part. Animals are unique in that they have no voice; they rely solely on us to be their saviors.

The AHA reminds us to adopt our pets from shelters or rescues, to take care of our pets, to make sure to spay and neuter, to speak up and report animal abuse, and to appreciate wildlife. Be Kind to Animals Week is a perfect time to teach children about animals.

Are you doing anything special to commemorate Be Kind to Animals Week?

A note about animals raised for food in the United States: a tough battle rages on between the corporations that operate meat and dairy production in our nation - a huge conglomerate of stockholders concerned with their bottom lines and not about the welfare of their live commodity - and the animal activists of our nation. These factory farming institutions have been persuading our generation to consume products from overfed, unnatural, antibiotic-laced and hormone-injected animals, which is terribly unhealthy for humans and horrific for the animals. Please learn more about our nation’s food production – what better time then during "Be Kind to Animals Week?”

This writing was also posted by the author at

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The cost of an open heart

What does that mean? To state it simply, it’s the willingness to love and care for someone or some being, knowing that there is cost involved – a cost that is often great - and doing it anyhow.

An open heart loves fiercely, but in turn invites pain. An open heart fights for survival, but yet surrenders with or without a fight, when death wins. There’s a pure unconditional element to open-heartedness, even as we struggle to control the outcomes in our lives - we don’t, and we can’t. So the cost of an open heart is inevitably a broken heart.

Why is this Easter Sunday topic on the cost of an open heart? It’s quite practical really. You see, tomorrow we bid farewell to one of our beloved children, a precious little girl named Thunder. My husband brought Thunder home on Valentine’s Day in 1995, and she’s been a loyal family member for over 17 years. We love her immensely and openly, and with this same intensity we will grieve.

But Thunder is ready to move on to the next world, wherever the rainbow bridge or the blue skies take her. She’s done here, and we can’t change that. So our calling – as stewards of God’s unconditional love – is to love again, just as fiercely as before and then some. Someone or some being needs that love and the price is irrelevant.
If you’ve put it all on the line for love, you’ve no-doubt suffered the aches and pains of a broken heart. Don’t be afraid to love that away again. It’s more than just an honor – it makes life grand. For a pet (or anyone) in need, an open heart means a chance at a new life – a rebirth. Sometimes a rescuer becomes the one who is rescued.

Tell us about your great love(s), a pet you rescued, or a loss you experienced.

This writing was posted at Examiner.Com on Easter Sunday. It's been less than 24 hours since we said goodbye to our sweet girl, Thunder, pictured above in a photo taken yesterday. We miss her terribly even as we know she is always in our heart.